FORT COLLINS, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--First National Bank and the non-profit technology incubator Rocky Mountain Innosphere (Innosphere) have announced a major investment with the non-profit Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) to provide loan capital to startup companies. First National Bank’s $300,000 investment in Colorado Enterprise Fund’s Early Stage Loan Pool will support high-quality, startup and early stage client companies of Innosphere. This expansion of the fund is expected to have a positive economic impact in the region, as Innosphere currently provides support to 39 startup companies that employ 200 people.
“Innosphere has all the systems in place to incubate companies and get them the right amount of money at the right time”
“We are fortunate to have a bank partner that values supporting innovation-based startup companies,” said Mike Freeman, Innosphere CEO.
First National Bank’s $300,000 investment is a low-interest loan from the First National of Nebraska Community Development Corporation to the Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF), which manages the fund. First National Bank is also an Innosphere funding partner and its president, Mark Driscoll, serves on Innosphere’s Board of Directors. First National Bank has made previous investments in CEF’s general business loan fund.
“We are proud to support innovative ideas and local entrepreneurship via First National’s Community Development Corporation,” said Driscoll. “First National Bank is committed to building strong communities and we’re pleased to partner with the Colorado Enterprise Fund to provide Innosphere startup companies with access to these funds.”
Rocky Mountain Innosphere will refer qualified startup companies to Colorado Enterprise Fund when they need loan capital to grow, for example, to fill purchase orders or to build inventory. A primary function of Innosphere’s Access to Capital program is to help fill the funding gap between “friends and family” and traditional sources of capital. Innosphere’s Access to Capital program is unique and includes three tools to match entrepreneurs to capital: The Fund for Innovation; a Community Development Venture Capital Fund, and the Early Stage Loan Pool.
The loan fund is up and running and loans are already being made to Innosphere Client Companies. “Innosphere has all the systems in place to incubate companies and get them the right amount of money at the right time,” said Ceyl Prinster, CEO and President of the Colorado Enterprise Fund. “This is the purpose of the Colorado Enterprise Fund, to provide Colorado companies the necessary funding to create businesses and grow jobs in our community.”
Rocky Mountain Innosphere (Innosphere)
Rocky Mountain Innosphere is a 501c3 nonprofit technology incubator located in an approved Colorado Enterprise Zone and in the City of Fort Collins Urban Renewal area. Innosphere currently provides support to 39 entrepreneurial startup companies with resources such as assistance with raising capital, help in assembling solid management teams, access and connections with academic and government institutions, a network of advisors and mentors, discounted professional service providers, and educational and networking opportunities.
Innosphere has two physical locations: headquarters in Fort Collins, Colorado and the Innosphere at CREED office located in Golden, Colorado which serves to expand Innosphere’s cleantech program. Target industry groups include clean technology, water technology, bioscience, information hardware and software. For more information contact Mike Freeman, CEO, Rocky Mountain Innosphere (970) 818-7736.
First National Bank
First National Bank is a division of First National Bank of Omaha. First National Bank of Omaha is a subsidiary of First National of Nebraska, which is the largest privately owned banking company in the United States. First National and its affiliates have $17 billion in managed assets and nearly 5,000 employee associates. Primary banking offices are located in Nebraska, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota and Texas.
Colorado Enterprise Fund
Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) is a state-wide nonprofit lending institution and a champion for small business. CEF provides the financing, mentoring, resources and partnerships to help entrepreneurs and small businesses succeed. CEF makes loans up to $250,000 to startup and growing businesses that are unable to obtain funding from traditional sources. CEF’s goal is to improve the economic vitality and diversity of communities, create jobs and foster innovation. Since 1990, CEF has disbursed $30 million in loans to 1,300 businesses. In the last two years, CEF’s loans have supported businesses with over 2,000 jobs (created or sustained), an average of 10 jobs per loan. CEF is certified as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and is an SBA Microloan Intermediary and SBA Community Advantage Lender. For more information contact Ceyl Prinster, CEO, Colorado Enterprise Fund (720)473-4054.